2021 Volvo XC90 vs. 2020 Porsche Cayenne

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/30

The XC90’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Cayenne doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Porsche Cayenne has only front height-adjustable seat belts.

Both the XC90 and Cayenne have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Cayenne’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Porsche doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Cayenne. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Cayenne’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the XC90 and the Cayenne have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the XC90 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 132 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Cayenne has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

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Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 2 years and 26000 miles longer than Porsche pays for maintenance for the Cayenne (3/36,000 vs. 1/10,000).

There are over 47 percent more Volvo dealers than there are Porsche dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the XC90’s warranty.

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne E-Hybrid running on electricity:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Cayenne

AWD

E-Hybrid Electric Motor

45 city/37 hwy

Turbo S E-Hybrid Electric Motor

34 city/46 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Cayenne:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 city/28 hwy

Cayenne

AWD

3.0 turbo V6 Hybrid

20 city/22 hwy

3.0 turbo V6

19 city/23 hwy

S 2.9 turbo V6

18 city/22 hwy

4.0 turbo V8 hybrid

16 city/20 hwy

4.0 turbo V8

15 city/19 hwy

The XC90 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Volvo XC90 higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Porsche Cayenne (3 to 5). This means the XC90 produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Cayenne every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The XC90 has standard Electronic Brake Assistance to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

The XC90 stops shorter than the Cayenne:

XC90

Cayenne

60 to 0 MPH

126 feet

131 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 3.5 inches longer than on the Cayenne (117.5 inches vs. 114 inches).

The XC90’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (51.7% to 48.3%) than the Cayenne’s (53.6% to 46.4%). This gives the XC90 more stable handling and braking.

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Cayenne (8.3 vs. 8.2 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is .3 inch higher than on the Cayenne Air Suspension (9.9 vs. 9.6 inches).

Chassis

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The Volvo XC90 may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 250 to 550 pounds less than the Porsche Cayenne.

The design of the Volvo XC90 amounts to more than styling. The XC90 has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .33 Cd. That is lower than the Cayenne (.34 to .35) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the XC90 get better fuel mileage.

As tested by Car and Driver while under full throttle, the interior of the XC90 T6 AWD is quieter than the Cayenne (71 vs. 74 dB).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Cayenne can only carry 5.

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the Cayenne.

XC90

Cayenne

Third Seat Folded

35.6 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

27.1 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

65.5 cubic feet

60.3 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the Cayenne’s in every dimension:

XC90

Cayenne

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

n.a./39.6”/74.9”

Max Width

54.7”

42”

Min Width

44.5”

42”

Height

35”

30.4”

Payload

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/30

The XC90 has a higher standard payload capacity than the Cayenne (1210 vs. 1104 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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The XC90 has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The XC90’s standard Easy Ingress and Egress Seat glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. An easy entry system costs extra on the Cayenne.

If the windows are left open on the XC90 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Cayenne can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC90’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Cayenne’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC90 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Cayenne doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the XC90 has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Cayenne only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

The XC90 has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

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The XC90 is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Cayenne doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the XC90 owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the XC90 will cost $890 to $11845 less than the Cayenne over a five-year period.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volvo XC90 will be $21277 to $80580 less than for the Porsche Cayenne.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/30

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Porsche Cayenne isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Cayenne has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Cayenne has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The Cayenne has never been chosen.

The Volvo XC90 outsold the Porsche Cayenne by 88% during 2019.

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